Romanesque

Artists in this era sought to revive the grandeur and scale of ancient Roman works. Churches began to take on new heights. To support such massive structures, large piers were employed that emphasized each structure’s already sturdy appearance.

 

Because much of the laity at this time was illiterate, sculptural programs were installed upon church exteriors that helped extend important religious teachings. These programs often featured frightening and highly-stylized scenes from the Last Judgment, warning those who entered to repent their sins. This tradition was carried on into illuminated transcripts, many of which feature gruesome beasts.

 

Regardless of the location or medium, art in the Romanesque period neatly marries function and decoration. Sculpted and illuminated figures, for example, fit neatly into their own, personalized compartments, while sections and levels of churches are clearly distinguishable from one another.